Troy Powers by Rochester for 31-10 Win at Home
Troy High School running back Oliver Jiang and quarterback Justin Losey each ran for two touchdowns as the Colts relied on a powerful running attack to defeat Rochester, 31-10, in an Oakland Activities Association football matchup Friday night.
Troy, which is 2-1 on the season and 2-0 in the OAA Red, avenged a 17-7 loss to Rochester last year that put a halt to the momentum that the Colts had built by winning their first two games. Troy finished 5-4 in 2010, falling just one win shy of claiming an automatic playoff berth.
“It’s a big game for us because I think our programs are very, very tough,” Troy head coach Gary Griffith said. “Every year we play them it’s back-and-forth, it goes down to the last play, and tonight we made some big plays.”
One week after rushing for 468 yards as a team against Royal Oak, the Colts again found success on the ground. The trio of Jiang, Losey and Matt Oppenlander combined for 288 yards rushing, with Jiang’s 180 yards on 28 carries leading the team.
Jiang ran for 210 yards and a score against Royal Oak, and he nearly repeated that effort against the Falcons.
“My offensive line helped me a lot,” Jiang said. “They just got a big push off the ball, and they were opening holes everywhere. I just made the cuts.”
Griffith praised the effort of his team’s offensive line for helping to open holes for Jiang, Losey and Oppenlander all night.
“(Jiang’s) getting big games because the offensive line is knocking people out, and we’re getting to the second level,” Griffith said. “The wide receivers are making plays and we’re carrying out our fakes. It’s a package deal.”
The Colts’ line is led by two junior guards, 6’3”, 275-pound Greg Webber and 6’4”, 280-pound Tommy Richardson. Webber has started for the Colts since he was a freshman and Richardson also started last year as a sophomore.
“They’re pretty seasoned, and Brian Johnson has stepped in at center and he’s doing a really nice job, but he’s got big help on both sides of him,” Griffith said.
Webber said continuing to work with several players returning from last year’s line has helped the group improve.
“We molded as a unit over the summer, and tonight just topped it off,” Webber said. “We’ve been together a long time, we worked hard during the summer and hard work pays off.”
Griffith said he believes the strength of the team’s offensive line means the Colts can compete with the top teams in the OAA Red, where in previous years they had been out-manned.
“You play Lake Orion, well they’re just good, or you play Clarkston and they’re very physical,” Griffith said. “We now think we can match up with those guys up front, at least those two big guys.”
Troy will get a chance to prove they can compete with Clarkston when they host the undefeated Wolves next Friday at 7 p.m.
Rochester (1-2, 0-2 OAA Red) played the Colts tough early, and Falcons cut the deficit to seven points at one point in the third quarter. However, the team could not sustain its early success and Troy pulled away late.
The Falcons struggled to move the ball offensively against a solid Troy defense, especially after injuries to key starters Emmanuel Mendoza and Cody DeVoe. Rochester’s lone touchdown came on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jack Glancy to Demetrius Magee in the third quarter.
Rochester coach Erik Vernon said the team will need to focus on improving its play around the line of scrimmage this week in practice.
“I give Troy a lot of credit; they came out and they had a good game plan and they beat us up front,” Vernon said. “The same thing happened to us last week against Lake Orion, and we have to fix some things otherwise it will keep happening.”
Vernon said he and the Falcons will have to learn from the loss and focus on winning their next game on Sept. 16 at Pontiac.
“We still have some good football players, and we still have a good team,” Vernon said. “We just have to figure out what we need to do to right the ship.”